New Amendment Protecting Pets Brings Politicians Together

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
Animal advocates in the U.S. are urging lawmakers to stop using tax dollars on archaic and deadly experiments on cats and dogs, and the lawmakers seem to be listening, as federal lawmakers from both sides have just taken steps to stop taxpayer money from funding such experiments.

The House of Representatives recently passed the 2019 Fiscal Year Spending Bill, and it prohibits new medical research done to dogs unless there is no other alternative.

For two years in a row, animal advocates and legislators in Virginia’s have campaigned together to bring an amendment to a bill that stops the Secretary of Veterans Affairs from using taxpayer money to fund medical experiments that cause significant pain or harm to animals.

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In 2017, Brat sponsored an amendment that stopped the Secretary of Veterans Affairs from funding medical experiments that harm or pain dogs, calling such experiments horrific and inhumane. Brat introduced the PUPPERS Act, which prevented experiments in VA labs on narcoleptic dogs, and now he’s specifically gone after a lab at the McGuire VA hospital in Richmond, VA. This lab conducted experiments in which they drilled holes into the heads of six-month-old puppies and injected latex into the puppies’ arteries to induce heart attacks. Brat said that not only was that a poor use of limited taxpayer funds and medical staff resources in the name of ‘Veteran care,’ but that it was barbaric, and not in the best interest of Veterans or ‘man’s best friend.’

This new amendment joins one that also protects kittens from such inhumane treatment. Recently, a conservative watchdog group called the White Coat Project incited outrage when they shared that the U.S. Agriculture Department has spent nearly a million dollars a year since 1982 on barbaric projects involving kittens. U.S. medical labs would breed kittens and then make them eat raw meat that was infected with toxoplasma to grow parasites in their stool that would be used for other projects. The kittens were healthy at the end of the projects, yet mercilessly killed anyway.

Over 120,000 taxpayers lobbied their Congresspeople to stop that funding and save kittens lives, and as a result, lawmakers introduced the KITTEN Act to prevent the USDA from spending taxpayer dollars on painful experiments on kittens and cats.

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This latest successful attempt to prevent this use of taxpayer money was bipartisan, led by House Freedom Caucus member Dave Brat (R) from Virginia and Dina Titus, a progressive Democrat from Nevada and co-sponsored by members from all sides of the political spectrum. Additionally, the amendment has significant support from both of the sides of the congressional political spectrum, as well as the former Veterans’ Secretary David Shulkin and many other major veterans’ groups.

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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